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Making Alliances & Saying Prayers — GlocalNet Participates in the Alliance of Virtue and the National Prayer Breakfast

 

The work of peacemaking is an endeavor of endurance. Peace is achieved in relationship over a period of time — and relationships do take time, especially when the differences between parties are vast.  The true work of peace happens face to face and table to table. However, this relational work of peace can be facilitated through many other figures and efforts. Leaders are needed to champion peace. Events and conferences are needed to create awareness to mass audiences. Initiatives are needed to pull people together and push the cause of peace forward.  Partnerships, coalitions and alliances between organizations are powerful, as well. In its mission to relentlessly pursue peace and reconciliation among all peoples in all places for all things, GlocalNet has utilized every possible mean to build bridges. Just recently, GlocalNet was involved in a convergence of peacemaking relationships, efforts and events.

The Alliance of Virtue for the Common Good was held February 5-7 in Washington DC.  The gathering of four hundred religious leaders from around the world explored, in the words of Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, “ways in which the three great Abrahamic faiths can offer their shared values in the service of peace.” The aim being, “to call for peace and urge others to do the same.” The conference included speeches and conversations ranging many topics such as religious virtue, the common good, the role of religion in governance, religious freedom and the need for alliances.

The sessions of the Alliance of Virtue built toward the unveiling and affirmation of the Washington Declaration, a document written for the purpose of building reconciliation and seeking to heal the wounds of global conflict and violence. Simply, the declaration states: 1) All people, regardless of faith, are entitled to religious liberty. 2) All people, men and women alike, are entitled to equality and due process under the law 3) Each government has an obligation to respect the dignity and related rights of all who dwell within its jurisdiction 4) People from all sectors – including public service, religion, business, academia, civil society, and the arts – share a responsibility to encourage international and intercultural understanding and to oppose any effort to convey information that is false or defamatory toward the members of any ethnic, racial or religious group.

Along with religious leaders and scholars from around the world, the Alliance of Virtue brought together the American Peace Caravan — a network of pastors, imams and rabbis who are banding together in their local contexts for the sake of peace.  These new friends, through the My Neighbors Keeper initiative, are taking this work to their cities and neighborhoods, calling their congregations to join the bridge-building peace work.  GlocalNet is already working in 20 cities around the US and has its gaze set on 50 cities by 2020. This network will provide relationships, resources and support to uphold overall peace efforts.

Finally, as the Alliance of Virtue concluded, many of its participants transitioned to another important event, The National Prayer Breakfast. This event, hosted by politicians, calls together about 3000 people and asks them to let go of their parties and politics for the sake of praying for our nation and our nation’s leaders in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This served as a great reminder of where the power of peace really lies. Indeed, prayer is the last great resource we have in the cause of peacemaking. Seeking the God of Peace as we seek peace on Earth is what gives us the wisdom and the power to continue such efforts. The two-day event was filled with meals, meetings and conversations opening doors for God to work and for peace to reign.

Below you will find several links to articles from these events that will give you more information and photos. Enjoy the articles and may God bless all of your peacemaking efforts. May His peace flow in you and overflow from you.

— CLICK TITLE TO SEE ARTICLE —

How the National Prayer Breakfast sparked an unusual meeting between Muslims and evangelicals

Can Christians, Jews & Muslims Find Common Ground? This Group of Leaders Hopes So

Evangelicals join interfaith leaders in Washington to promote religious tolerance

400 Muslim, Christian, Jewish Leaders Sign ‘Washington Declaration’ for Religious Tolerance

 

BELIZE – A Foundation Problem

“While many things change, most things remain constant”

Belize is a small country nestled in the Caribbean Basin between Mexico and Guatemala. Rich in resources, Belize boasts the second the largest barrier reef in the world and is the home to one of the largest most fertile rain forest in Central America. Eco-tourism has flourished in the past few decades. Oil was discovered a few years ago in the western part of the country. However, in light of such wealth, Belize also boasts of poverty levels in 30-40% of the population according to Caribbean World Bank Development.

However, “While many things change most things remain constant.”  For example; In a world of buildings we have seen changes in types of homes. Just consider homes from past to present you will see the constant changes in space, design and shapes. However, no matter the constant changes to these structures one thing remains constant, the foundation. The need for a good foundation has never changed. Without it, these structures—no matter the external changes—will not stand for long. I believe the same principle is true for nations. As monumental shifts have occurred in this world due to the discovery of the internet, globalization, migration and new inventions, certain things remain the same, specifically the absolute need for an unchangeable foundation based on the absolute truth about mankind. Here are a few foundational problems I thought about on my recent visit to Belize.

Health of Families

As I traveled across the country for six days I came across a constant call to help in the area of marriage. I found myself spending hours with couples who were in trouble in their marriage. The complete inability to deal with conflicts, generational offenses, and just the rampant need for relational principles at a basic level is evident. A nation is strong when the family is strong. When families begin to disintegrate the negative impact is massive. One of the issue is the vacuum it creates among children that leaves them open to street gangs who provide that need for some sort of family structure. Belize has seen a tremendous rise in gangs and gang violence. Today it ranks the third highest national murder rate in the world. The majority of the homicide take place in Belize City where gang violence is rampant. This is a direct result of the complete breakdown of the family, especially in Belize City. 

Lack of Male Leadership

Northwood Church is very invested in Belize and our approach to mission is through the domains of society, especially through the education domain. We have developed relationships with those at the highest level in education. One such female leader was asking me to help them in the area of motivating male leadership in this domain. This particular leader is the director of the largest school district in Belize. She told me that out of 176 schools she only has 2 male principals. There has been a complete exodus of males from leadership in the education domain. Male leadership is foundational to the health of a family, church, nation. The question is why are they absent in the education domain and how can reverse that trend?

Lack of Servant Leaders in Government

Another area is the lack of Servant leaders. The entire system from the top to the bottom and across all domains of society is built upon leadership by power and manipulation. The desire to take for themselves as much as possible before they are relieved from their position develops a winner-take-all attitude. If you ask children in Belize the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer is usually two-fold, an immigration officer or a government position. They understand that to have anything beyond just barely surviving these two vocations afford you the possibility to make more money through stealing and bribes. An entirely different leadership foundation is needed or these patterns will continue to perpetuate themselves through every generation of leadership.

While many things are changing in this world, many remain the same. Without healthy families, male leadership and a philosophy of servant leadership within the fabric of a society, a nation will have a very weak foundation. It will not able to withstand the whirlwind of change and the house it is built on will eventually fall. It does not matter how great the external structure is the foundation dictates the future of that house.